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Getting crafty on the road: Moab, UT

Part of the charm of the desert is that it’s partly inhabitable. Of course, the places most people live in these extreme climates is near a water source of some sort, but that doesn’t change the fact that for much of the year, it’s insanely hot or frigid cold.

When we decided to take a trip to Moab, UT and the surrounding desert, I knew there would be a lot of hiking, biking and excitement to fill the days.

Moab adventure

After all, everywhere you looked there were signs for rock climbing, kayak rentals, 4×4 tours and guided hikes. Someone even asked us if we wanted to test his tandem base jumping business. It was free! (We declined, figuring we got enough of a show with the world’s largest rope swing.)

But even with all the wild rides and adventure the area had to offer, I knew that every afternoon it was gonna get hot. And with more than two weeks to play, I knew I’d get burnt out if I didn’t have other plans. I think we all know where this is going.

Jordana Paige Rio & Crafter's Tool Butler

I brought three projects: my Emmery, a friend’s baby blanket and my trusty washcloth (for those times when I want to knit outside). That, my friends, is a lot of yarn. It was the first time I really put my Crafter’s Tool Butler to the test and I was thrilled! It holds everything. Of course, we all know that the Rio can handle it all.

Upon arriving in Moab, it was obvious that others before me knew that in the chill of winter or the blazing heat of summer (thank goodness for A.C.!) it pays to have indoor hobbies. In a town of 5,000 people, there was fabric, beads, jewelry, yarn and other fantastical things to discover. So in the spirit of our crafty tour of Santa Cruz, I thought I’d take y’all along with me for my Moab excursion.

Of course, the first place I wanted to hit was the LYS, but it was early so instead I thought I’d check out Moab’s farmer’s market. There were loads of fall veggies, handmade goods and herb tinctures I’d been looking at online. Serendipity!

Farmers Market, UT

After a chilly morning, I was anxious to hit Desert Thread. Owned by Cathy and Rosie, this shop is adorable. I was greeted with a hearty “Good morning!” by a six-year-old boy who was helping his mom. Inside the sunny store was local wool, spinning, knitting and crocheting supplies.

Desert Thread Moab, UT

After a lengthy discussion about sock yarn (this would be my first pair), I purchased some lovely hand dyed yarn from Pagewood Farm. The color? Peaceful. Mmm. (See the bottom of this post for pictures of my loot.) I asked the ladies where I should go next, and they suggested Savage Spirit, so off I went.

The beauty about downtown Moab is that nothing is too far away. I think the farthest I walked between stops was about three blocks. It’s still packed with shops, some with the typical touristy bits, but many with loads of hand-made, gorgeous wares. Savage Spirit didn’t disappoint.

With everything from hand-dyed cotton dresses to clay jewelry to beads and purses made from recycled Levis, this shop was colorful and welcoming. If you’re lucky, you’ll pop in when Cathya, the owner is in. She’ll be happy to tell you about how the artist made these earrings or just what helps your nose from drying out in the desert air. (Ocean, a nasal spray, is the choice of most locals.)

No matter who’s working the counter though, you’ll get a feast for the eyes when you stop in. With great stuff from around thirty different artists, it’s like a miniature Etsy collection you can touch and feel.

Savage Spirit Moab, UT

From there I was feeling seriously famished (shopping is hard work, as we know), so I headed to the place that had pulled me in on one of the first days I showed up in Moab: Eklecticafe. Just thinking about this place makes my mouth water.

Hungry for breakfast or lunch? They’ve got you covered with banana walnut pancakes, salmon and eggs, pulled BBQ pork sandwiches (with gluten-free bread if you so desire), and BLT wraps filled with avocado. YUM! Craving dessert in the desert? The carrot cake here is a winner, so I’m told.

One of the coolest parts of this cafe is that all the tables are old jeweler tables filled with handmade jewelry you can purchase at a reasonable price. Feeling like sending a friend a greeting? Local art and old postcards pepper the place, all ready to be purchased and mailed.

Eklecticafe Moab, UT

After relaxing outside in the shade (you wouldn’t believe how much shade matters in the dry heat) after a leisurely brunch, I figured I’d head back toward the sewing shop the gals at Desert Thread told me about, It’s Sew Moab. The store is a block off Main Street, making the sweet purple butterfly bench in front of it a welcome sight. If I hadn’t been sitting for so long, I’d have sat there just to enjoy the relative quiet.

It’s Sew Moab is a quilting store, through and through. Quilts hang from the walls, and signs pepper the place reminding us to “Procrastinate! It leaves more time to quilt.” Crystal, the owner, welcomed me warmly, along with the sweet little puppy basking in the sunlight pouring in through the front door.

In addition to gorgeous fabrics, there are beautiful displays and a sewing room where I could learn to quilt. Could I make a quilt in a day? I wondered. I reminded myself I had enough hobbies for now.

It's Sew Moab Moab, UT

I managed to make it out of Crystal’s shop without signing up for a quilting class, but the sight of all those sewing machines just waiting for me to create has me thinking that’s something to look into when I get back home. Speaking of home, I was on my way there (at least my temporary one), when I decided to detour into a store the Desert Thread gals told me about. It was on the way after all.

Earth Studio is a small shop on Main Street filled with some of the most fun and enticing metal work, all made by about eight artists around the area. Amanda, who worked the counter, told me they all designed and created it in a cooperative sort of way. In addition, the store contained things like local honey, soap and beautifully-made and cozy-looking rugs.

Earth Studio, UT
I’m pretty sure my backyard would be full of the metal garden decorations if I lived anywhere near this store. How cute are they?

Before I got to Moab, I thought maybe people would think I was a little off my rocker for wanting to find the creative spaces here, considering all the natural beauty I could check out. Turns out it’s just a natural muse, because there are loads of artists and places cultivating those artists in this small place. A gem in the red rocks.

It took a lot, but I went home with only a few small souvenirs from my excursion. The sock yarn, a metal-work-bound journal, some nettle tincture and a metal switch plate for my girlfriend who adores all animals. And plants actually. She took care of mine while I was away.

loot again

While I’m happy to be home, it was nice to have some quality time to knit and explore a different part of the planet. I’ve got a new appreciation for the desert and the artisans who call it their home. Do you have a crafty place you’d love to show off? Feeling inspired? Do your own craft tour and we’ll post it on our blog.  Email or leave your info in the comments, and we’ll make it happen!


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